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You can tune NTFS with different parameters in the registry and an TechNet articles states that you increase file performance by setting NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation to 1 in the registry.

In real life, how much is gained, and is it worth it compared to having legacy compatibility?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

per the following article it starts to help at the 300,000+ files. http://oreilly.com/pub/a/windows/2005/02/08/NTFS_Hacks.html

just remember that you might break older apps by doing so.

how much you gain depends on too many variables. I suggest you run performance monitor before and after you change the registry.

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It's interesting really when there are a lot of files/names in a directory, particularly if they have a lot of overlapping characters at the start of a bunch of long file names. File creation times will go up in these cases (because the algorithm to create a short name for a long file name has the requirement that the short name cannot already be in the index, naturally). Enumeration of the directory can also become more expensive.

Generally, if there is a lot of metadata activity in a very large directory, and no apps that depend upon short names are present, it can help a good deal. It's hard to quantify, since YMMV.

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Could you please define "a lot of files/names". Is it 1.000, 10.000, 1 million? And how much are we talking on extra time to create a file. 1 millisecond, less, more (on a recent new machine with fast disks and several cores). –  Mikael Svenson Oct 28 '10 at 8:21
    
I don't have any concrete data handy on the topic, no, sorry. My guess would be that it starts becoming measurable in terms of how long each affected operation takes in a very active directory with a file count on the order of 10,000 or more. Really that's just a guess. –  jrtipton Oct 28 '10 at 17:22
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